ATLANTA — The politician who sponsored last year’s controversial fetal-pain law told pro-life advocates rallying at the Capitol on Tuesday that he has no regrets despite it costing him his legislative seat.
Doug McKillip said his newfound faith in Jesus convinced him to switch from a Democrat vigorously defending a woman’s right to abortion to a Republican opponent of it.
The law – prohibiting abortions 20 weeks after conception, when a fetus is thought to become able to feel pain – was to have gone into effect at the start of the year. Last month, a Fulton County judge temporarily halted it while she considers the merits of a constitutional challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I wanted to stand before you today and I wanted to tell you that, as of today after that law went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, that we have saved about 70 babies so far,” McKillip said. “But I can’t.”
The rally was the first time McKillip has been back to the Capitol since the final day of last year’s session, when his bill passed in the waning minutes. He lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary to Rep. Regina Quick, who campaigned against the legislation.
“If the fight means losing a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives or taking a day off from work and standing in the freezing cold for an hour or making a donation to the cause we all believe in – whatever the cost to you – please just always remember: babies are worth the fight,” he told the crowd of 2,000.
Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, said he was surprised when McKillip called him in the summer of 2011 volunteering to sponsor the bill because McKillip had stopped previous efforts.
“He said, ‘I want to do penance. I want to help. I want to reverse the damage I have done,’ ” Becker said.
The annual rally ended with a silent march, including 40 people holding posters listing the number of abortions carried out nationally in each of the 40 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision..